This is an archived press release
Wednesday 14 September 2005
14 September 2005
National Park Authority 'disappointed & frustrated' by inquiry delay
The Peak District National Park Authority has expressed extreme disappointment and frustration at the postponement of a planning inquiry into quarrying at Backdale on Longstone Edge.
The seven-month delay will lead to irreversible damage to the area with the potential for substantial extraction of limestone.
The inquiry, scheduled to begin today in Buxton, was due to consider an appeal by quarrying company MMC Ltd and landowner Bleaklow Industries Ltd against an enforcement notice issued by the National Park Authority. The Authority had launched the action last November after becoming concerned that too much limestone was being extracted, harming the landscape.
However, the planning inspector has agreed to Bleaklow Industries' request to delay the inquiry on the basis that the time set aside - three days - would not be enough to reach a conclusion. The hearing will now take place over eight days starting on 4 April 2006.
The National Park Authority is particularly frustrated at the reason for such a lengthy delay - the unavailability of Bleaklow Industries' legal counsel.
Peak District National Park Authority Director of Conservation and Development John Lomas said: "Despite very strong opposition from the National Park Authority, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Save Longstone Edge Group, the inspector agreed to adjourn the inquiry. We are extremely disappointed that it has been put back for so long.
"This means that the extraction of limestone - which we contend goes beyond the terms of the planning consent - will continue for many more months.
"The delay is in no way due to any lack of preparedness by the Authority. We have received significant support from the local community and environmental groups, and undoubtedly they share our frustration. Over the coming weeks we will be talking to our legal representatives to consider whether any further action can be taken prior to next April."